Fluvial — transforming personal geography into a fictional world of shapes and forms
Project Statement — Fluvial is a meditation of the beaches and villages of interior northern and central Portugal. Photographed between 2011 and 2017, these fluvial scenes transmute personal geography into a fictional atmosphere. Testifying to the author’s lifelong relationship with northern and central Portuguese riverside beaches and villages, they act not in the manner of a topographic survey, but rather by equating erosion with vision. Just as the river currents have shaped the natural elements, time’s passage appears to have depurated irony off his gaze, predisposing it to form and analogy, and to kindness towards his equals.
Capturing families at informal moments of Portuguese society, predominantly emigrant workers home for summer from northern European countries, bodies, tree trunks and riverbed rocks resemble small sculptures (some of which are anthropomorphic); the human body, here almost amphibious, is often reduced to a simple form, to the submerged surface, either adopting the stream bed as an optical instrument, or by shaping it with light.
The human and non-human bodies emerge from chiaroscuro schemes, either as elements of an illusory mise-en-scène, or defamiliarized, reduced to mere form, as if by casting a spell on them.
Realistic yet dreamlike, conveying a pagan sense of nature, creating the atmospheric effect of an infinite Sunday, it reminds one of a summer dream — a visual ode to human leisure.
Peter Ydeen studied painting and sculpture at Virginia Tech, under Ray Kass, (BA), Brooklyn College under Alan D’Arcangelo and Robert Henry, (MFA Fellowship) and at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture with visiting artists, Francesco Clemente, Judy Pfaff, William Wegman, Mark Di Suvero and others.
Over the past several years, Peter has concentrated on photography where he is able to use the many years spent learning to ‘see’. Shown below are examples from his latest series ‘Easton Nights’, which are all night photos from the Easton, Pennsylvania area where he lives.
Ydeen’s work from the Easton Nights series will be in an exhibition at Saint Joseph’s University, Merion Station, PA, from August 20th to September 25th, 2018.
Sandrine Hermand-Grisel grew up in Paris, France and in London, UK. She studied in Paris International Law before deciding to dedicate her life to photography in 1997.
Hermand-Grisel has exhibited nationally and internationally, including exhibitions at the Carroussel du Louvre (Paris, France), Rayko Photo Center (San Francisco, USA), Maison de la Culture (Luxemburg), City Hall, SFAC Galleries (San Francisco, USA), Europ’art’, (Geneva, Switzerland) Espace Bontemps (Gardanne, France), Centre Iris (Paris, France), Fotofever Photography Art Fair, (Brussels, Belgium), Le Pavé d’Orsay, (Paris, France), Viewpoint Gallery (Sacramento, USA)…
Shown below are examples from her project ‘Sea Sketches’:
Influenced by her late mother’s sculptures and her husband’s paintings and films, she worked on several personal projects before her series Nocturnes was recognized in 2005 by Harry Gruyaert, Bertrand Despres and John Batho for the Prix Kodak de la Critique Photographique. In 2006 she moved with her family to the United States and began experimenting landscape photography with her series Somewhere and On the road.
Despite the diversity of her projects she has a unique, very intimate, relationship with her subjects. Photography provides her with a way to express her feelings, like in the series ”Nocturnes” where she photographed only close friends and family members peacefully abandoning themselves in front of her camera. ”Somewhere” is her dream of America, a road trip through her adopted country. And ”Waterlilies” is full of joy and love for her two children as she watched them jumping and playing in pools over and over again. Sandrine Hermand-Grisel not only photographs what she loves, she breaks free from her own reality in her poetic vision of the world.
In 2013, Hermand-Grisel created the acclaimed website All About Photo and now spends most of her time discovering new talents while still working on personal projects.
Leticia Batty is a UK based photographer originally from Worksop, Nottinghamshire and now resides in London. She has a number of London exhibitions and book publications to her credit.
Leticia is a photographic artist who specializes in medium format color photography, with the Worksop and Sheffield area as the biggest influence on her work. Her practice explores themes of identity, landscape, British politics and the self.
Shown here are samples from her project ‘Milano’, featured on her website along with several other projects and publications.
Andrew Mellor is a photographer based in Lancashire in the North West of England. His photography explores natural and man-made environments; and the interaction between the two with concerns over how we use the landscape and the social and political issues surrounding it. His work explores change and human impact.
Land – Sea : Artist Statement
For centuries Blackpool was just a hamlet by the sea. But by the middle of the 18th century, the practice of sea bathing to cure disease became very fashionable amongst the wealthier classes and people were making the journey to Blackpool solely for that purpose. Our current perceptions of the British seaside were formed during this Victorian period – childish innocence, the fun of the fair and the tranquillity of the sea itself; simple ‘old-fashioned’ fun – are all the stronger for having these Victorian roots.
Between the years 1856 and 1870, a Promenade was built along the sea front to prevent continual erosion and potential flooding and over many years the coastline witnessed significant geological and geographical changes.
It was built in several sections, which vary in height and profile, with the first completed stretch of sea defence being erected from Talbot Square to the site of where Blackpool tower was to be later built. All sections were subsequently designed by a succession of Borough Surveyors and landscape architects, which were also built in stages. This has resulted in different architectural compositions of varying construction and design. The visual stimulus created by the differing architecture is a fascinating feat of engineering and can be used to improve society, both socially and environmentally.
The marine frontage is approximately 12 miles long, from Blackpool to Fleetwood, and is in constant need of maintenance, as it is estimated that the average life span of a seawall is 50–100 years. Hard-erosion control methods provide a more permanent solution than soft-erosion control methods and because of their relative permanence, it is assumed that these structures can be a final solution to erosion.
There are many fabled stories, which provide a mythical backdrop to the seafront, with tales of bells tolling from lost villages and the revelry of the patrons from the penny o pint, which superstition says is supposed to signify a stormy night. Maps from before the late 1500’s indicate the North West coastline ventured out possibly a mile or two further than it does presently. Supposedly, several villages stood along this peninsula and were said to have been destroyed during a tidal flood, around 1554 or 1555; some archaeological evidence suggesting the existence of these villages has been found.
To see more of Andrew Mellor’s work, or connect to him via social media, check out his website and links below:
The colorful photographs in Julio’s House show us extravagant, Liberace-inspired interior living spaces within a modest Miami house. We see scenes of a very personal setting, but devoid of people. The only people shown in the book are in vintage photographs taken of Orestes Gonzalez’s uncle Julio, his uncle’s friends and lovers, and his life as a cruise ship entertainer. Julio worked as a magician, tour guide and entertainer aboard a ship that took tourists between Miami and Cuba before Castro took power in 1958.
Current images of Julio‘s house are juxtaposed with vintage photographs of the same rooms and largely unchanged decor from over 30–40 years ago. The bitter-sweetness is palpable. How does Gonzalez come to terms with the loss of a family member who was somewhat estranged by his family, and put it all into context while sorting through his belongings and walking through Julio’s personal spaces?
When I first saw photographs of this project almost a year ago, I recognized the importance and the weight of responsibility for photographing spaces that belonged to a significant person in one’s life. Gonzalez’s photos include rooms that feature knickknacks, reading material on a side table, and all the ephemera that were in place while his uncle was living in his home. So the photographs are part document, part remembrance. It is a potentially revealing and rewarding endeavor to explore the themes that come from this process, decipher meaning from all of it, and try to understand it.
I had the opportunity to photograph my grandparents house while they were both living. I went through their house with a large format camera and took careful photographs of each room. The images were originally taken as a documentary study of where they lived. Looking at those photographs over twenty years later, they have transformed into vignettes of spending time in the house as a child. When I asked Gonzalez about the images in his own project, which was developed into this wonderful book, he said, “They lasso you in to a reality, away from incorrectly fantasizing over a period of time or a place. My intent with the story was to shatter the stereotype of the gay man (that my generation grew up with) as just an effete, and not family orientated individual.”
Gonzalez’s text throughout the book is well paced with the images chosen. The interior scenes of the house are counterbalanced with personal photographs or close-ups of a setting that give us a real feel for what it was like to be in the home. We see the rooms, how they are decorated, personal effects on shelves and side tables, stuffed birds attached to black velvet in picture frames, striped foil wallpaper in the dining room and green shag carpet in the front room. Bright daylight floods the rooms in his images — a stark contrast to the nightlife chronicled in some of the text describing evening parties with energetic music, dancing, and Cuban food that went straight to the gut and soul of the merry-makers in Julio’s house.
One can sense Gonzalez’s conflict, from the way Julio was marginalized by his close family long ago. But while going through Julio’s belongings and paperwork, Gonzalez discovered that his uncle had scrimped and saved and lived modestly in order to eventually bring 12 members of his immediate family to the United States from Cuba. Gonzalez discovered his uncle was a caring, family-centric man who lived a life that was at odds with the stereotypes that gay men (Cuban-American men especially, according to Gonzalez) faced in the 1970s and beyond. His previously held opinion about Julio as a flamboyant, superficial man quickly transformed into pride for his uncle.
The book feels like a hand-written letter one would write and send it to someone who has been a significant influence in their life. A letter to convey the complex emotion: ‘I understand now better what you mean to me, what you meant to me, and why our relationship is important.’ So many things are seen clearer if given enough time and distance, whether it’s physical or emotional.
It would be easy to view this collection of photographs and written memories as primarily being a remembrance. But, I feel one should look at the project as a sense of discovery. Gonzalez is presenting a visual and written exploration of the over-arching question: what would his life possibly be like if he had experienced his family in a different way, and how would that difference impact his own life as an openly gay man? Does the myth of one’s past hold up to the scrutiny of the present? Gonzalez’s photographs are taken from the angle and perspective of an adult, and they were not naively taken nor considered. The narrative text is written by a man who is recalling the past, and providing context for the life and times of his uncle. This process of self discovery, as well as trying to understand the people who influence and mold your life, is potentially one of the most important things a person can undertake. And the act of treasuring or honoring the lives of those we love reminds us of our own mortality. With consideration to Julio’s House, one could say our own possessions might mean nothing to one person, but to another it may be the key to unlocking memories and understanding.
Julio’s House by Orestes Gonzalez
Essay by Roula Seikaly
10 x 8.5″ perfect-bound, hardcover
Limited edition of 400
Julio’s House received much deserved attention and accolades in 2017. Notably, the book was bought by The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) as part of their book collection in the Thomas J. Watson Library, and the images have been picked up by The Fredric Snitzer Gallery in Miami. The opening date for the show “Julios House”, at the Fredric Snitzer Gallery is Friday April 6th, 2018.
YIELD Magazine is hosting a series of online gatherings in anticipation of a virtual conference planned for the coming year. YIELD Magazine is a publication of the Snite Museum of Art at Notre Dame University.
A range of engaging topics have been covered in the online meetings thus far. Artist interviews, portfolio presentations, round table discussions, and an upcoming online gathering to highlight photographers using Instagram. These events are open to photographers who wish to participate or share their work, add to the discussion, and help cultivate appreciation of photography as an art form in the Midwest. Please see the webpage for YIELD Magazine for more information about these meetings and how to become involved; or you can also check their Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook accounts.
The second volume of Out of the Ordinary by Iain Sarjeant is a continuation of the project he has been working on for a number of years. The project, and two books thus far, has developed from the approach of Sarjeant’s spontaneous wandering, exploring, discovering, and observing. “The series explores the kind of places that most of us walk or drive past every day,” says Sarjeant, “without really noticing – places where the infrastructure of human habitation interacts with the natural environment. These are dynamic landscapes, constantly being altered, and part of the fascination for me is the element of chance involved in the photographs – coming across scenes that may look very different the following week or month.”
As with Volume 1, this new book captures scenes of the land Sarjeant encounters across Scotland. The witty interplay between geometric shapes, colors or textures is a strong part of his work. His body of work includes images that feature vehicles in all manner of use and function (or disfunction), buildings both commercial and residential, markings on pavement, graffiti, shadows and shipping containers. From a visual standpoint, Sarjeant takes advantage of Scottish overcast skies to give extra punch to the color that is either featured or included in the scenes. He compresses the space to heighten the sense of rhythm or repetition of shapes, or knows when to pull back to include more of the scene to set the stage. He has valuable use of line and it draws the viewer through the images, and the layout of the overall book as well. Artful placement of the images in sequencing this book make smart visual connections. Power lines and playground structures are connected visually, as are fence rows and street markings, or old growth hedges and growing saplings. Sarjeant’s use of visual association and interplay are used to their best again in this book. Out of the Ordinary, Vol. 2 is a joy to view and admire the craft of creating a multi-volume series of photography books.
Over several years, Another Place Press has been quietly building a cache of wonderful photo books dealing with the subject of the land, and peoples’ relationship and interaction with it.Out of the Ordinary is one of the books that anchors this theme. The third and final volume of Out of the Ordinary will tentatively publish at some time in 2018.
Iain Sarjeant is the founder and editor of Another Place, and Another Place Press which showcases contemporary landscape photography. He has worked with the photo collective, Documenting Britain, and works as a stock photographer.
To purchase a copy of Out of the Ordinary, Vol. 2 – please visit Another Place Press.
For more information, or to view Sarjeant’s personal work; please visit these sites:
Surreal and mysterious portraits and places in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom
In 2010, French photographer Stéphane Lavoué discovered a special landscape in the United States, called Northeast Kingdom. It is located along the border to Canada in the northeast corner of Vermont, comprising Essex, Orleans and Caledonia counties. This beautiful, rugged, remote area has a population of roughly 65,000 people. Lavoué’s series and book, The Kingdom is a personal tribute.
When Stéphane Lavoué and his family first came to the Northeast Kingdom, he immediately felt he found a very special place. In the beginning, he wanted to make a body of work like a journalistic investigation. Levoué started his series with this idea in mind, but the project and the resulting book are far more than photo reportage. His images transcend into narrative fiction, even if all the people and places are based on a real place.
I have the habit of browsing through a book from front to back, then working my way back toward the front again. As a result, I came across the accompanying text at the back of the book and read the account right after my first pass through the book. The story is about a woman traveling to the Kingdom. She is searching for her brother who has been absent for many years. Could all the people and places Levoué captured be evidence of this story?
The French writer and journalist, Judith Perrignon, was asked to write her short piece to accompany the images. Her text was written after the photo series was completed, so her story is a mix of invented memories and fictional events.With or without knowing this, an entirely new layer of meaning is applied when viewing the book with her text in mind. Before I knew the text was fictional, the portraits and scenes I had first encountered had me retracing my steps; wondering who and where Levoué had chosen to photograph because of their importance in the story. Levoué’s images have a timeless and surreal quality – natural lighting makes a man waring a hairnet and an Army graphic t-shirt look like a renaissance painting, and scenes of The Museum of Everyday Life could easily be mistaken for a setting from Twin Peaks, or a Wes Anderson film.
In addition to the striking images and text, the book itself feels great to hold. The embossed cover feels like leather, the printed end sheets of the book feature a map of the Northeast Kingdom; which invokes the idea that one is holding a personal journal, or an artifact that is a part of the mystery and the story within. The mystery deepened each time I went back to the images and re-read the text. Levoué’s world in The Kingdom had me revisit the work multiple times; and left me with more wonderful questions than answers.
Photos by Stéphane Lavoué, with text by Judith Perrignon Graphic design by l’atelier 25 French & English
170×240 mm Munken lynx 170 gr & woodstock grigio 110 gr embossed hard cover ISBN 978-2-9552412-4-0 2017 first edition
The Kingdom is published by éditions 77 – please visit their website to order a copy here. To see more work by Stéphane Levoué, please visit his website.
This is an edited version of the review first published in F-Stop Magazine in January, 2018.
Filter Photo is pleased to announce #Mass_Observation, a photographic installation by Krista Wortendyke, at Filter Space gallery.
#Mass_Observation is about the developing space of social media and how we use it not only as a way of collecting our own experiences, but as a way of connecting and consuming the experiences of others. Untrained observers continuously record world events, with the results posted to social media, such as Twitter and Instagram. With the rise of distrust in the major media outlets, we have turned to the non-professional, the Twittersphere, iPhone videos, and Instagram feeds for authentic and truthful windows to reality.
Wortendyke’s installation questions the aestheticization and mediation of violence in our culture by using images of racial riots, cropping them into Instagram-worthy squares, and combining them in a single space. The resulting installation mimics society’s comfort with Instagram while simultaneously calling into question the casualness with which we document and beautify events like riots.
Given the current state of racial politics and clashes in the United States, questioning and attempting to understand the role of mass media and the impact of social media in these conversations is essential. #Mass_Observation seeks to push audiences to consider their own consumption of mass and social media and the way each medium impacts the virtual spaces viewers curate for themselves.
#Mass_Observation Krista Wortendyke Exhibition Dates: January 5 – February 3, 2018 Opening Reception: January 5 | 6pm – 9pm Location: Filter Space 1821 W. Hubbard St., Ste. 207 Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday | 11am – 5pm
Filter Space is free and open to the public.
About the Artist:
Krista Wortendyke (b. 1979, Nyack, New York) is a Chicago-based conceptual artist. She received her MFA in Photography from Columbia College in 2007. Her ongoing work examines violence through the lens of photography. Her images are a result of a constant grappling with the mediation of war and brutality both locally and globally. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Schneider Gallery and Weinberg/Newton Gallery in Chicago, The Griffin Museum in Winchester, MA, and many other venues across the United States. Her work is also in the permanent collections of both the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.
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